BJP set to win 4 seats in Karnataka Council bypoll

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BJP set to win 4 seats in Karnataka Council bypoll
Bengaluru:  The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win 4 seats in the ensuing biennial elections to the 7 seats in the Karnataka Legislative Council and strengthen its position in the Upper House, an official said on Saturday.

“With 116 legislators in the 225-member Assembly, we will win 4 Council seats in the bypoll on June 29, as each candidate needs 28 votes to become a Member of Legislative Council (MLC),” BJP’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudhana told IANS here.

Though the party has the numbers to ensure victory of all its 4 nominees, selecting them will be a challenge, as there are too many prospective contestants, including two former rebels of the opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) who lost in the December 5 Assembly by-elections across the state.

“As the last day of nominations is June 18, discussions are underway in the party to shortlist the candidates. It’s early to guess the names and who will be selected by the high command,” said Madhusudhana.

In the recent Rajya Sabha biennial elections for 4 seats from the southern state, the high command selected two grass-roots cadres — Ashok Gasti and Iranna Kadadi — to contest and win, rejecting the three names the party’s state unit shortlisted and recommended, including its outgoing member Prabhakar Kore.

“As the bypoll is to fill the vacancies in the Council, the party’s state leadership will have a greater say in the selection of the final nominees because their contribution to the state will be significant,” asserted Madhusudhana.

The party’s core committee will meet on July 15 to shortlist the candidates.

Former JD-S rebel A.H. Vishwnath and former Congress rebel M.T.B. Nagaraj are betting on getting the tickets as reward for resigning their Assembly seats in July 2019 along with 15 other rebels and enabling the saffron party to return to power after their coalition government fell on July 23, 2019, following the defeat of trust vote by its Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in a trial of strength in the Assembly.

Vishwanath lost the by-election from Hunsur in Mysuru district on BJP ticket to the Congress candidate, while Nagaraj lost the by-election from Hoskote on the BJP ticket in Benglauru Rural district to an Independent backed by the JD-S.

Of the 17 rebels, 15 contested after joining the BJP in mid-November and 12 of them won. As many as 10 of them were inducted in the Cabinet on February 6, as promised by chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa for the return of the party to power on July 26, 2019.

Of the 75-member Council, the opposition Congress holds 37 seats, BJP 19, JD-S 16, two Independents and one Chairman.

Of the two Independents, D.U. Mallikarjuna is due to end his term along with 6 others on June 30.

Though 5 Council members of the Congress are retiring on June 30, only 2 of its candidates will be able to win, as it has only 68 legislators.

“Our strength in the Council will reduce by 3 to 34, as we do not have the numbers to contest the third seat,” party leader Prakash Rathod told IANS here.

With 34 members, the regional Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) will be able to ensure the victory of only one candidate to replace its outgoing member T.A. Sharavana, who is keen to re-contest.

The 5 outgoing Congress members are Naseer Ahmed, Jayamma, M.C. Venugopal, N.S. Bose Raju and H.M. Revanna.

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